TODAY   |  June 25, 2013

KLG on Paula Deen: Don’t condemn her without facts

TODAY’s Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb discuss the fallout that celebrity cook Paula Deen is facing after admitting to using a racial slur. Drawing on her own experience, Kathie Lee warns against a rush to judgment about Deen.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> hello, everybody. we're actually delighted to be on the air today. some days we wonder if we're going to make it to air, and today is one of them. but it is booze day tuesday! and i am like this right now -- because --

>> why?

>> -- i'm this far away from finishing the movie. we have channing tatum on this morning. this movie is called " white house down."

>> it's such a nail-biter.

>> and i love my nails! i don't want to destroy my nails. it is amazing!

>> they gave us this movie. it is hard to see movies these days because they think everyone is going to bootleg or steal. they gave you like a mini ipad. i was in the gym this morning. i usually go for 30 minutes , i'm done, i want it offense. my adrenalin was moving. it is so good.

>> he doesn't even have to come and and do the interview. we will see it for him.

>> channing tatum , voted the sexest man alive. there is a song called "i want to channing all over your tatum." jimmy kimmel did this spoof. you guys, it gets stuck in your head. channing hey channing hey

>> they went to a lot of trouble and expense for that but that's hysterical.

>> kimmel got everyone on board.

>> he was on for his last movie -- i guess " magic mike " i don't know when it was. meeting him and getting to know him, i became a huge fan.

>> something about him.

>> there's something. he's a mississippi boy. he's so polite. but he's a really -- he's a terrific action hero but is he a good, solid actor.

>> and a dad now, too.

>> and now a dad. he's going to be on with us in a little bit.

>>> so we can now explain the kanye and kim --

>> there is little everly.

>> the kanye and kim baby name . a lot of people were curious because the name of the baby is north -- west. there is an explanation. north is not directional, they say. they call it inspirational.

>> they're trying to explain that the name answers that age-old question about what a child means to a relationship when a child is born. they're saying that what's past north? nothing. in other words, it is the epitome of your relationship. it is the further star you can --

>> the pinnacle.

>> so i suggest that just to make people realize that, they name her -- they give her a middle name . north star west.

>> like four stars on the end of it. i like that. it makes sense.

>>> now we're going to follow up a little bit with nik wallenda. i guess 13 million people watched him cross the grand canyon . a couple of questions. one was about his blue jeans .

>> it look like he he might even get stuck on them.

>> it was concerning. you think he would wear something tighter. but --

>> look at wind blowing his shirt.

>> he loves those jeans. the jean company is called buffalo by david bitten.

>> they must be the happiest people on the planet right now.

>> honey, they renamed those jeans the nik. they're $99.

>> i think they better order a whole bunch more.

>> yesterday we talked about was he going to walk across the top of new york from the empire state building .

>> i remember we talked about the fact that that's never going to happen.

>> it's confirmed. the nypd police commissioner ray kelly said no, because there are people who are down below --

>> millions in fact.

>> they don't want to be smushed by someone who may or may not be falling.

>> by the way, i love ray kelly . he is an amazing police commissioner here and thank you to him. he takes his job so seriously. a lot of people want to take away power of people like him and the police and stuff. you want your police to be really good when you need them. you know?

>> he's that guy.

>> yes, he is. he is.

>> big day tomorrow here on the "today" show. paula deen is going to be coming on to speak with matt. she was supposed to come on a few days ago and canceled it. she's restucheduled. smithfield foods are the latest --

>> they're the ham folks. the biggest in the world, i think.

>> they said they're dropping her. they said smithfield condemns the use of offensive and discriminatory language and behavior of any kind. it is important that our values and those of our spokes people are properly aligned so they've severed ties with her.

>> still waiting on word from qvc. here's the thing though. i'm concerned about the direction this thing is going. the facts are not yet in. this lawsuit that's taking place is not -- was just in the discovery process when -- and this stuff allegedly has happened. so i'm just a little worried that we are condemning a person -- i don't know the facts. i don't think anybody knows the facts yet. put yourself -- i've been in that position where i've been accused of something horrendous that ended up -- wasn't true at all. and it takes a long time to get your reputation back. i feel for her -- it may all be true. but the point is we don't know yet. and i don't think we should judge somebody until we have the facts. she's innocent until proven guilty .

>> i think you're right about that. i think the weird thing is that what she talked about she said happened 23 years ago. but as these things are --

>> can pile up.

>> yeah. sometimes it is almost like you shake the trees and someone else says, oh, this happened, then there is an interview that was on some "new york times" website.

>> i know that doesn't look great.

>> so things happen. as you watch it, i think she needs to do damage control pronto to see if this thing can stop. they've done polls, i think access rohollywood did one and 77% of the people said they love her and are sticking by her. look, she said some things that were not great and this is what her kids said this morning on cnn. they said that their mother is not a racist and they claim the case is really extortion and character assassination. here's the quote.

>> we don't know if that's true either.

>> she says our mother was under oath and to admit whether or not she'd ever heard or used that word, it broke her heart to have to answer truthfully and say yes, she had. neither one of our parents ever taught us to be bigoted toward any other person for any reason and this is so saddening to me because our mother is one of the most compassionate, good hearted empathetic people you'd ever meet.

>> first of all, most people when you ask them, are you without sin? are you? then don't cast the first stone . every single one of us at one point or other in our life has said something or done something that is wrong and we're ashamed of it. i know what you're saying, if this is a pattern of behavior and it's chronic and it's systemic, then that will come out, then the companies need to do what they're going to do. but the people who stood by me, hoda and believed in me and knew it wasn't true, god bless them, i'll thank them forever for that. i'll never forget one time this lady stood up. she was wearing a dress of palestine. she goes you like it? i said yes. she goes i just want you to know when you were accused of that, i went out and bought five of your dresses because i knew it wasn't true. so the facts will come out. i hope the paula deen that we know from being here will be exonerated. if the other paula deen proves to be that racist person, then yes, you've got to pull the stuff. we don't know yet.

>> you don't. i think there were some questions in judgment beyond the race issue. i think we remember when people -- there was rumblings that she had diabetes and she came out on this show, talked about the diabetes and on the very same day endorsed a product for diabetes. and that didn't sit well with people. so i think there were other things, not just this but i think there were other things brewing that made people --

>> made you uncomfortable but it certainly wasn't illegal. you know what i'm saying? i think what's going to happen is tomorrow matt is going to do his typical amazing insightful fair interview with her, and we're going to see how she responds. she's under extraordinary pressure because this is going to be a make-or-break her entire career and her lifestyle as she knows it and a lot of other people's lives will be affected by it as well. so i just say let's not rush to judgment.

>> i'm with you.

>> oh, yeah, for a change. yes.

>> i am with you. i love melissa mccarthy . sandra bullock , they're in a movie together. who else do i like?

>> i just saw your picture. it is beautiful.

>> thank you.

>> this is what 18 looks like? i mean you look good. but 18?

>> that's a "4." it's 48.

>> you look awesome, hoda, but 18?

>> come on. that's a big four. 48.

>> they're airbrushing in the world to make us look that good. but you look amazing. so what's the article about?

>> it's nothing. it's nothing. i'm sure it's in there.